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Teen Challenge Canada: The spectrum of substance use and addiction

It isn't always simple to determine when substance use is a problem
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According to The Canadian Mental Health Association, substance use and addiction can be understood as on a spectrum.

Although 21% of Canadians will meet the criteria for addiction in their lifetime, the scope or reasons in which a person falls into abusing substances, depends on an individual set of reasons and impacts. The user’s life, behaviour, and other surrounding factors will all play an intricate role in whether or not – or how deeply someone falls into addiction.

“Simply consuming a highly addictive substance, one time, will not, in many cases, lead to a lifelong battle,” says Don Trepanier, Chief Program Officer at Teen Challenge Canada. “There are so many things that come into play. Being prescribed painkillers for a broken leg might lead to addiction for one person, while someone else in that same family is completely fine.”

The spectrum of substance use is laid out across four varying degrees. These include:

  • Beneficial Use
  • Casual/Non-Problematic Use
  • Problematic Use
  • Chronic Dependence

The spectrum of substance use is wide, and it's not always easy to identify when someone has a problem.

Different substances have different effects on the brain. For example, alcohol and nicotine are both addictive, but in different ways. Alcohol is more likely to lead to physical dependence and withdrawal symptoms, while nicotine is more likely to lead to psychological dependence.

“In many cases, someone suffering from addiction may fall on different spots on this spectrum, at different instances or times in their life, such as casual/non-problematic use, and then return again,” says Don. “Having a support system, a community, and a counsellor / sponsor to talk to can make a world of difference. We also can’t only use this spectrum for those using opioids or illicit drugs. Even legal substances such as cigarettes or alcohol can lead to serious addiction.”

Teen Challenge Canada provides a 12-month, 3-phase drug and alcohol rehabilitation program that detoxes much more than just the mind and body. Clients work with an Accredited Addiction Counselor to cope with their pain, learn healthy habits, and reorient themselves into the community as sustainable, strong individuals.

What is Teen Challenge Vehicle Donation Program?

Teen Challenge Canada is a non-profit organization that receives virtually zero funding from the provincial or federal governments. All the money raised provides programming and assistance to hundreds of individuals in addiction, across the country, and comes from generous donors like yourself.

One of the major fundraising initiatives that Teen Challenge campaigns is their Vehicle Donation Program. The funds raised by donating a car, minivan, or truck, help keep Teen Challenge centres open nationwide.

Do you have a vehicle you don’t want or need? Consider donating it to Teen Challenge Canada to support those recovering from addiction in your community. It doesn’t matter if it works, Teen Challenge will come and get it. All vehicle donations receive a fair market tax receipt, with a guaranteed minimum of $600.

If your old vehicle is ready to go to help change a life, go to www.donateyourcar.ca or call 1 (800) 856-8902.

To learn more about the ministry of Teen Challenge Canada, go to www.teenchallenge.ca.

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